Despite speculation that the Vikings simply tagged safety Anthony Harris with an eye toward trading him, Harris has accepted the franchise tender — and it sounds like he plans to remain with the team for years to come.
“Since arriving in Minnesota with uncertainty as an undrafted free agent in 2015, I have accomplished my dream of playing in the NFL, going from practice squad, to making the active roster, to becoming a full-time starter, to leading the league in interceptions,” Harris said on Twitter. “During the past five years, Minnesota has become home and is where I want to continue to develop as a player, having only scratched the surface.”
Harris became a full-time starter during the 2018 season, and he held that role throughout 2019.
“Although it has been a strange offseason, time spent in isolation with family has been refreshing and energizing,” Harris said. “This is just one step in God’s plan for me and my family. I will let my agents and the Vikings work towards long term certainty in Minnesota, but I am excited to be back for the 2020 season.”
Harris has plenty of reason to be motivated. Despite a great year in 2019, he didn’t make it to the Pro Bowl, and he received only one All-Pro vote.
“I am continuing my focus on what it takes to be successful both as a team and as an individual,” Harris explained. “I am excited for the new challenges the 2020 season will bring, but I am most excited for the opportunity to help bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota and the best fans in the country. Skol!”
Harris will earn a guaranteed salary of $11.441 million in 2020, a number higher than the cash ($8.75 million) and cap figure ($10.75 million) attributable this year to safety Harrison Smith.
The Vikings and Harris have until July 15 to finalize a long-term deal. Otherwise, Harris will be in line for a shot at the open market or a franchise tag of $13.72 million in 2021.